Must read for anyone who's in a position to use violence, witness violence, or is disturbed by violence in any capacity.
As someone who's almost had to kill in hand-to-hand combat, I found myself experiencing some strange and, at the time, very embarrassing emotions. Organically, I walked through many of the same steps that Grossman covers here, and I wish I had read the text while or before I was tying to recover from the traumatic revelation that not only could I take a life, but that I would without hesitation if the need arose.
Unfortunately, Grossman tries to unveil a new science. Unfortunately, it seems too brief and too summarized to fully explain the mechanics of what Grossman attempts to discuss. Call it the Trinity of death. Hopefully others pick up where he leaves off.
As a non-combat Veteran, I felt it very accurate in our feelings of regret for not being able to fight to help others. But also in hindsight, the guilt or being an enabler to the bloodshed that we may later with more wisdom not agree with. The bible states that all war is for greedy gain. Not that honorable men may have to fight to stop others greedy gain, but the greedy gain is always there. the United States allowed corporations to set up shop in the Middle East before the dust had even settled. I don't think there are many who would argue that the current wars have more to do with money than any other motive.
Bondservant of Christ
Grossman is erudite compelling and tasteful. This book is every bit of five stars and if you have the stomach for quite graphic descriptions from the study of combat and killing I can't imagine you could do any better than this volume. Remarkable highly recommended.
I am a marine veteran of OEF and I wish I had read this before bootcamp. I heard about this book in bootcamp from Company First Sergeant and it stuck in my head seven years. I just finished reading it and I will never look at my experience and the experience of millions of vets, shooters and non
shooters the same.
I think this is one of the most important books I've read about combat. We all may find great levity in a quote, where he described learning about combat from Hollywood to be like learning about sex from porn films. I've been reading about the experience of combat since I picked up Baa Baa Black Sheep when I was in the Third grade. I've been trying to understand, and this book is from a combat veteran trying to make sense of the experience and to put a lot in perspective such as the disparity between the Brits and Argies in the Falklands conflict. I suggest picking up a copy. You can find it as unabridged audiobook, as well as for Kindle. He covers most of the American conflicts of the 20th Century. My problems were more with his theoretical basis. I am uncomfortable drawing on Freud in this day and age. He also spent a great deal of time speaking about youth violence. My understanding on the statistics differs from the authors in that subject. From the perspective of understanding men under fire, this is the best I have read by far.
I was recommended to read this book be several veteran friends. It is an insightful and VERY humbling book on the process of man killing man. There are many takeaways that I think our current society should take time to explore and ponder more deeply
As a combat veteran of Afghanistan, I feel like this book is a wonderful insight into the mind of a combat soldier. Something every struggling vet should prescribe to family members and significant others.
Many great stories, quotes, and theories explained in this book. Grossman does a good job of ensuring his points get across by referencing past quotes, and reiterating Ideas. The quality of his conjecture is great, and I agree with most of it. However, near the end of the book he tries to tie all his ideas together to call for legislative censorship of violence in the media. This is only the last chapter, but I found myself rolling my eyes pretty hard through this last stretch. Such a great intellectual book which ends on such a weak note.
It's fun to have the author read his work as he intended it to be emphasized and understood, with his Jeff Daniels-esque voice, too. When rating the book, I asked myself what I felt it lacked in order to earn a 5 star rating. As much as first person accounts on any topic are usually gripping and incite more emotion in a reader, I found myself reminding myself "yeah, but this book is about a psychological hypothesis on violence and killing in humans, not a hyper-specific hypothesis on the 21st century warrior and the bleeding edge classified military training tactics". It DOES have many first-hand accounts relating to the topic. But they aren't 10 minute stories that depict a colourful and heroic nature, rather small snippets of "Sgt Jimmy John has trouble dealing with the recollection of his intimate killings in Vietnam". The stories aren't about the action, but about a bigger picture representing the toll of killing on men in war. So while it's easy to dismiss the book as "meh", it is comprehensive and poignant about it's intended themes. So if you smack yourself out of the "We Were Soldiers" expectations of this book, you'll end up hearing why this book is well-recommended among military writers. Good read. I'm now more sorrowful for what Vietnam vets had to go through, during and after the war. Thanks.